Max's targets Asia-Pacific expansion

By Miguel R. Camus, BusinessMirror

Posted at Aug 24 2012 10:12 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2012 03:22 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Max's Restaurant, which operates a popular chain of restaurants specializing in fried chicken, continues to look abroad for expansion opportunities and is now studying potential sites in the Asia-Pacific region such as Australia and Singapore.

Chief finance officer Rebecca Arago told reporters in a chance interview on Thursday that the overseas expansion strategy is hinged on where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are located. The company has already opened stores in the Gulf states of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as in the US and Canada, areas which tend to attract higher-value OFWs.

Arago declined to provide details on the reasons for bypassing the Asia-Pacific region in favor of other locations but she said the company is now considering its home region more seriously.

“Asia-Pacific is one of our targets,” she said. “Maybe we’ll try Australia and Singapore…maybe Hong Kong.”

She said sales in overseas operations are still “looking good,” especially in the Middle East. “Most OFW [customers] there are well-off. They miss Filipino food,” she said.

Asked about the need to raise funds, she said expansion is typically funded through a combination of debt and internal cash.

She said an initial public offering on the Philippine Stock Exchange is an option for the group but not “in the next few years.”

The Max’s group is also the local master franchisee of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which has 30 branches in the country, Arago said. She said expansion efforts for the doughnut chain have been slowing down as it seeks more “strategic locations.”

Max’s Restaurant has 139 domestic stores today on top of nine stores in the US, two in Canada and three in the United Arab Emirates. Its traces its roots to just after World War II in 1945, when founder Maximo Gimenez opened a small café to cater to visiting soldiers.